Unbreak My Heart (Rough Riders Legacy #1) - Lorelei James

I blamed everything on the fever.


My nausea.

My surliness.

My weepiness.

My utter lack of reaction when he strolled into the exam room.

He gaped at me like I was an apparition.

I continued to stare at him blankly, as if it was no big deal he was here, right in front of me, wearing scrubs and a cloak of authority.

But the truth was I hadn’t seen him for seven years.

Seven. Years.

I should have been in shock—maybe I was in too much shock. This definitely fell under the heading of trauma. Because on the day he waltzed back into my life? I looked worse than dog diarrhea.

I mentally kicked myself for not going to the ER. Or perhaps just letting myself die. Anything would have been better than this.

Screw you, universe. Fuck you, fate. Karma, you bitch, you owe me.

This chance meeting should’ve happened when I was dressed to the nines, not when I was sporting yoga pants, a ratty Three Stooges T-shirt, dollar store flip-flops and no bra. And the bonus? My hair was limp, my skin clammy, my face shiny from the raging fever I couldn’t shake.

Wait. Maybe this was a fever-induced nightmare.

“Sierra?” The beautiful apparition spoke my name in a deep, sexy rasp.

Pretend you don’t know him.

Not my most stellar plan, but I went with it.

I cocked my head and frowned as if I couldn’t quite place him.

His expressive brown eyes turned hard. “That’s really how you’re gonna play this? Like you don’t know me?”

I returned his narrow-eyed stare because I was too sick to fake an air of boredom.

“Fine. I’m Boone West. Your nurse,” he said sarcastically. “I’m here to take your vitals.”

I shook my head. My inability to respond wasn’t from pettiness—I’d lost my voice the day before due to the fever. But my middle finger worked fine and I used it to point at the door as I mouthed, “Get. Out.”

“Nice try. But keep your arm out like that so I can take your blood pressure.”

My heart rate skyrocketed, so no freakin’ way was he putting a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope on me.

Boone moved in cautiously as if I were a feral creature. He smiled—not the sweet, boyish grin I once loved, but one brimming with fake benevolence.

My belly flipped, which pissed me off. And I wished projectile vomiting were my superpower instead of this uncanny ability to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, every time.

I jerked away from him.

“Look, Sierra,” he said reasonably. “I wasn’t expecting to run into you here. Not like this. Let me do my job and we’ll talk afterward.”

I shook my head so hard my vision went wonky.

“It’s not like you have a choice.”

Wrong. In full panic mode, I bailed off the exam table and hugged the wall, facing him as I crept toward the door.

“Whoa. Slow down. You came into the clinic because you’re sick. You can’t just leave.”

My throat felt like I’d gargled with gravel, but I managed, “Watch me.”

Then I threw open the door and booked it down the hallway.

But my fever had the last laugh.

My body chose that moment to fail me. Chills erupted as if I’d been plunged into a deep freezer, followed by sweat breaking out as if I’d been baking in the Arizona desert. White spots obscured my vision.

I swayed before everything went dark.

“She’s coming around.”

I recognized that voice.

Doctor Monroe.

I peeled my eyes open and noticed I was back in the exam room.

“Hey girl. How’re you doin’?”

Girl. She seemed to have forgotten that I was not a girl, but a twenty-three-year-old college graduate with the world by the balls.

“I need to poke around, so lie still.” She lifted my shirt and started palpating my belly. For such a tiny thing, she pushed hard enough on my innards that I swear I felt her fingers poking the inside of my spine.

“Nothing out of the ordinary. Can you sit up?”

As soon as I was upright, the whooshing sensation started in my ears. My eyes burned but I could clearly see that Boone blocked the door. I gritted out, “He goes.”

Doc Monroe got right in my face. “A patient who acts like they’re trying to escape and then passes out in a waiting room full of people is hell on my reputation, Sierra McKay. Boone stays. You’re lucky he acted so fast and caught you before you hit the floor.”

“How did I…?” I gestured to the surrounding area.

“I carried you,” Boone said. “You snuggled right into me. Strange behavior from someone who doesn’t know me.”

Goddammit. I